Pipeline Marketing Blog

Are You Measuring Event Marketing The Right Way?

By Jordan Con
Mar 20, 2017

For many B2B marketing departments, event marketing takes up a significant portion of the budget. According to the State of Pipeline Marketing Report 2016, 72.2% of B2B marketers invest in conferences and/or tradeshows, the sixth most commonly used channel.

While events can be highly effective opportunities, they pose a measurement challenge for many marketers. Digital channels are fairly easy to track. As prospects come to your website, they leave a digital footprint which allows marketers to understand their behavior—where they came from, what pages they visited, and if they filled out any forms. This information is critical for measurement and, more specifically, for attribution.

Because events are offline interactions, a lot of this important information is missing. Granular touchpoint tracking isn’t automated, so most marketers measure their event performance using the metrics that are readily available: registrations, attendees, badge scans, etc.

Metrics like registrations, attendees, and leads seem relevant enough, and they are easy to measure...so, what exactly is the problem?

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What’s wrong with measuring performance using only indicators?

When marketers measure and report on their performance using leading indicators, such as registrations, attendees, and leads, it makes it difficult for marketing leaders to make confident decisions. For example, what’s the ROI of generating 200 leads from a $20,000 event sponsorship investment, and how does that compare to a paid social ad campaign that costs the same amount?

Event marketers may justify the spend by saying that a $100 CPL is good for the company. But without assessing the down-funnel impact, it’s like a baseball team optimizing their strategy based on how many times their batters swing. Sure, you have to swing the bat to score runs and win the game, but the correlation between the number of swings and wins is not strong. There are a number of “down-funnel” steps between swinging the bat and winning a game (e.g. did you make contact? Was it an out or hit? Was the hit a single, double, triple, or home run? Were there runners on base?).

Marketing budget allocation challenges

Not only is it hard to calculate ROI without the revenue component, it makes it really difficult for CMOs to properly allocate their budget. When digital channels offer the ability to measure performance based on revenue and events only offer attendee or lead results, how is the CMO supposed to make a decision on where to invest the budget?

Perhaps the 200 leads from the event actually do result in more revenue than a $20,000 paid social media campaign would generate. But without the ability to ever know that revenue number—the one number that really matters—it’s a tough decision to justify.

Turning offline data “online”

Fortunately, the effectiveness of event marketing doesn’t have to be limited by marketers using the wrong metrics. Many marketers are already taking the next step towards down-funnel measurement by uploading their event leads into campaigns in either their CRM our marketing automation system—turning these offline leads “online.”

Of course, that’s just the first step in the process of measuring event marketing the same way you measure all of your other channels. Marketers still need to fill in the rest of the touchpoint data that’s normally collected digitally, and then accurate attribution models need to be applied.

When event marketing engagements have the same touchpoint data as online marketing engagements, they can then be measured the same way. Through attribution, the touchpoints can be included in prospects’ buying journeys and their down-funnel performance, including impact on closed-won revenue, can be measured.

If you want to learn more about measuring offline marketing channels side-by-side with your online channels, as well as best practices for optimizing your event marketing with the right metrics, check out this on-demand webinar. In the 45-minute webinar, Dave Rigotti, VP of Marketing at Bizible, and Alexandra Gibson, CMO at Event Farm, go in-depth on how to track the metrics that matter, for both online and offline marketing.

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